Empty box of Austral 'Ordinary' Dry Plates manufactured by T. Baker & Co. at the Austral Laboratory in Melbourne between 1887 and 1896. The box has been sealed with a printed signature from Thomas Baker, thus confiming the plates as 'genuine'.
This box dates to the first decade or so after Thomas Baker started making photographic glass plates in Melbourne and is a rare example of Baker's early manufacturing history.
Baker traded under the name T. Baker & Co from 1887, when the Baker & Rouse partnership was created, until 1896, when T. Baker & Company merged with Baker & Rouse to become Baker & Rouse Limited. During this time he built the Austral Laboratory next to his home, in 1886. The Laboratory was a three-storey building that served as his plate making factory and which professionalised his manufacturing enterprise. Thomas Baker registered his Austral trademark in1887.
This object is part of the Kodak Heritage Collection of products, promotional materials, photographs and working life artefacts collected from Kodak Australasia in 2005, when the Melbourne manufacturing plant at Coburg closed down.
Cardboard box with printed labels. The lid can be completely removed from the base.
Donation from Kodak (Australasia) Pty Ltd, Ms. Kate Metcalf - Kodak (Australasia) Pty Ltd, 2005
Courtesy of Kodak (Australasia) Pty Ltd.
Thomas Baker & Company, Southampton Crescent, Abbotsford, Greater Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1887-1896
The Austral Laboratory was built in 1886 while the Austral trademark was registered in 1887, so it is assumed that this item was made between 1887 and 1896, when Thomas Baker & Company merged with Baker & Rouse to become Baker & Rouse Limited.
Printed, on the label attached to the lid: 'ORDINARY / AUSTRAL / REGISTERED / DRY PLATE / T. BAKER & CO. / Austral Laboratory / MELBOURNE'
Type of item
176 mm (Width), 34 mm (Depth), 131 mm (Height)